Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic
presented by Federal Premium Ammunition concluded Sunday, February 22nd, drawing 22,654 to the weekend event at the Iowa Events Center. The annual national convention and outdoor tradeshow heads to Kansas City, Missouri, in 2016.
In addition to providing significant economic impact for the host city and attending outdoor industry vendors, Pheasants Forever uses its National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic to recruit members for its wildlife habitat conservation mission. More than 700 individuals signed up as Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever members, including three patron members and 67 life members.
National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic was also a platform for a pair of conservation announcements significant for upland habitat. First, Pheasants Forever and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have renewed their partner commitment to conservation by signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through the year 2020. The MOU establishes a framework of cooperation between Pheasants Forever and USDA agencies, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA), to maintain and enhance the productivity of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife habitats on private and public lands.
At the organization’s Saturday evening national banquet, keynote speaker Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced $20 million is being made available to improve wildlife habitat and enhance public access for recreational opportunities on privately-owned and operated farm, ranch and private forest lands. The funding is available through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) and is authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have been ardent supporters of “Open Fields” provisions as they expand sportsmen’s access and the use of best management practices for wildlife.
The event also delivered wildlife habitat benefits specific to Midwest farmers and ranchers. The Landowner Habitat Help Room at the show serviced 151 landowners providing conservation guidance on 23,500 acres of land, predominately located in Iowa and neighboring states. Accompanied by a trained Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever biologist, or partnering biologist from Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources, landowners were educated on ways they can improve their acres for wildlife and even what local, state, and federal conservation programs they qualify for enrollment.
“Iowa’s tradition of pheasant hunting and passion for wildlife habitat conservation was very apparent at our 2015 event,” said Howard Vincent, President and CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “I would like to extend the sincere gratitude of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever to all of Iowa’s countless volunteers and chapters who were committed to making our convention a major success.”
National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic combines a national consumer show, habitat seminar series, and family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns, and art. In fact, Pheasant Fest is the country’s largest event for upland hunters, sport dog owners, and wildlife habitat conservationists. Details for National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2016 will be released soon.
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.